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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  December 10, 2018 5:00pm-6:00pm PST

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small business guys i learned, i forgot about the cultural differences that separated me from them. that's what the peace core was about. yes, grandma, it's africa more than any of us can count. thanks for being with us. a"all in with chris hayes" stars right now. >> tonight on "all in." >> [ inaudible ]. >> no, no. >> the president claims no smocking gun as the reality of what he faces comes into focus. >> it's clear that trump is the target and he'll be indicted eventually. >> the government wouldn't make that sponsoring allegation if they weren't seriously contemplating going forward with criminal charges. >> tonight, assessing the chances a sitting president gets indicted. >> he may be the first president in quite sometime to face the real prospect of jail time. >> as democratsimpeachment. >> well, they would be impeachable offenses. >> plus, clint watts and malcolm
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nantz on more russian connections coming into focus. new reporting that donald trump considered his pick for a.g. as a defense attorney. and the politics of being president as investigators bear down. >> hilly is likely to be under investigation for many years. probably concluding in a criminal trial. >> "all in" starts now. >> all of us should use every breath we have to make sure the lying stops january 20th, 2021. [ applause ] >> good evening from new york. i'm ali velshi in for chris hayes. there is little doubt about the criminal nature about the most powerful person in the world. pros kwuters say donald trump directed his fixer, michael cohen, to make illegal hush money payments during the campaign, payments that may have well swung the election. in short, there is strong evidence that the president broke the law. according to prosecutors, he's a
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criminal. and the question now is what america is going to do about it. here is the chair of the -- incoming chair of the house judiciary committee, representative jerry nadler. >> well, they would be impeachable offenses. whether they are important enough to justify impeachment is another question. certainly they would be impeachable owe fenszs. even though they were committed before the president became president, they were committed in the service of fraud leaptul obtaining the office. >> even if the president isn't impeached, he is in real trouble. you don't have to take my word for it. even the president's morning show is sounding the alarm. >> the southern district of new york case, which is different from the mueller case on cohen, they are clearly going after the president on campaign finance violations. and i think if you read the sentencing memo the southern district filed in cohen's case, it's clear that trump is the target and he'll be indicted eventually. >> do you think the president of
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the united states is going to be indicted? >> he does. he does think that because he read the same documents that the rest of us did, and that wasn't some liberal who snuck onto trump tv. it was fox news contributor andrew mccarthy of the conservative national review who was making that case. trump himself is playing defense this morning. he insisted it was totally innocent, saying the hush money payments were somehow just, quote, a simple private transaction that didn't break the law. remember, michael cohen pled guilty to a felony -- a felony for making those payments. trump is accused of directing him, of ordering him to make them. which would seem to be worse? but flat out denial is pretty much the only defense the president has left. >> go ahead, yeah, go ahead. >> no, no. >> oh, okay, then. in his tweet this morning, trump
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also addressed allegations of collusion with russia, endorsing the view that democrats have, and i'm quoting here, no smocking gun. he meant smoking gun, i think. regardless, there is an awful lot of smoke. we now know that russians interacted with at least 14 trump associates during the campaign and the transition, and that michael cohen lied about the effort to build trump tower moscow. he lied about his conversations with trump about setting up a meeting with putin. and communicated with the russian national offering, quote, political synergy. and the investigation isn't over. the most damning evidence may yet be to come. trump's best hope may now to be to hang onto power no matter the cost. just ask the former fbi director. >> if trump wasn't the president and someone went to court in the southern district of new york, sponsored information that they directed a crime, what would happen to that person? >> well, that person would be in serious jeopardy of being
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charged. >> all right. joining me now, neil cat yeal k acting director. >> good to be with you. >> nadler says the president has likely committed impeachable offenses -- he may not be impeached for it. what's he getting at? >> well, i mean, the constitutional standard is high crimes and misdemeanors and, you know, it defers -- different people have different views of that. one obvious heart land of it is a felony and what trump is being essentially accused of by career prosecutors in the southern district of new york is a felony. so, it is very much an impeachable offense. it is at in the heart land of what impeachment is about. >> what, in your mind, is this a political question of what to do with donald trump, or is it a legal question about what donald
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trump's exposure is? >> well, holy smocks, i think it's both. in terms of the legal piece, this is a felony, and a serious one. if this were any other individual, donald trump would be going to jail. so his only hope is to play this get out of jail free card, which is now i'm the president, i can't be indicted. and i think the most important point for that for your viewers -- this is where politics intersects with the law -- the president himself is engaged in a massive bait and switch or bait and witch. before, it used to be the president was saying that he had nothing to do with the stormy daniels payment. he was asked in april. quote, mr. president, did you know about the $130,000 payment to stormy daniels? no. and then he says, go ask cohen about it. i didn't know anything about it. now the tweets today is a whole different thing. >> it was done properly. it was done through a lawyer. that doesn't seem to cost donald
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trump in the court of public opinion because he seems to be as low as he's going to get. legally, that's got to be interesting to prosecutors. >> well, i think that the prosecutor -- time is early. this is just a filing on friday, so we don't know all the things that the prosecutors know. it takes time for all of this information to come out. so i think it's premature to say, oh, it's not impeachable or the american public doesn't care or something. after all, at the end of the day, they're going to see a report. it might be an indictment, it might be a report, something from career prosecutors saying donald trump directed the commission of felonies. that is a dramatic thing to say about the president of the united states. >> so there is debate as to whether or not the president can be indicted while he's the president. that's a debate for a different time, and we've had some of that. the question is whether or not at some point donald trump faces
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justice. and maybe that's while he is the sitting president of the united states, or maybe it's right afterward. what's your best guess? >> yeah, so, i think it could be either. i think that's an important point because donald trump is sitting in the oval office right now where i guess the residence -- i think that's where he usually is. even if he wants to play this get out of jail free card about sitting presidents, he's not going to be the president forever. there is not going to be a statute of limitations defense that is going to clearly work for him. so he knows he's facing the serious prospect of time behind bars. and really the card he has left to play is resign and avoid a criminal trial. that is going to become an increasing likely possibility as the facts come out and as the american public realizes, they've got a guy in office who has lied to the american people,
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committed fell nionies, and has faithfully executed and upheld the constitution of the united states. >> neal as always, thanks for your insight. neal katyal. >> where impeachment proceedings would originate should congress decide to move forward with that. the democratic representative ajayi joins us now. thank you for joining us. >> good to be with you, ali. >> you voted for a bill that would launch impeachment proceedings or not table them last year. that was very preliminary. but has your position changed on whether or not members of congress should proceed with impeachment of the president of the united states? >> well, at the time that we had the bill, it was really to have a debate on the floor about whether the president had committed impeachable offenses. if you remember, this entire two years, we on the judiciary committee have been trying to get hearings to really do the work that we are supposed to do
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that is within the jurisdiction of the committee. that hasn't happened. that will happen come january. and now i think the evidence is stronger than ever. something is really rotten in the state of the white house. i feel like i'm in a hamlett play. there is corruption at the highest levels and felonies being alleged by the prosecutor that involve donald trump directly. 14 contacts with russians. this is troubling, ali, and i think the president has to be worried about this. and i think the american people have to understand this culture of corruption has got to stop. >> at some point -- i was talking to neal about this -- there are legal arguments. we read a lot of them on friday night about why the president may have some legal jeopardy in this. but there is really ultimately, when it comes to being the president of the united states, there are some limitations about where the justice system can take us. there are fewer limitations as to where the political system can take us, although
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impeachment is not a light or uncomplicated thing. how in your mind do americans best get justice for a president who may have committed a felony? >> i think what you've seen already is a lot of information put out by mueller in all of these filings. so even though he has president gone all the way yet, it is clear that this president is being investigated for obstruction of justice, for collusion, that he has been a central figure in the committing of felonies. and so what will happen now is that information has to be put out to the american people. donald trump's lies have to be shown. it is a political process, as you know, if we are going to move forward with any kind of impeachment. we need to make sure we continue to see the information from the special counsel. and then let us let the american people see for themselves have they have been defrauded and lied to business this president. that's what you're going to see happen starting january, but certainly through these mueller
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filings and indictments that he's put forward. >> republicans in the house see it differently. here's what kevin mccarthy had to say on fox news today. >> it looks like what they're going to focus on is more investigations. i think america is too great of a nation to have a small agenda. there are other problems we have to focus on. we've investigated this for a long period of time. both sides have come up with nothing in the process. i think we should put the american people first. >> both sides have come up with nothing in the process. what's your response to that? >> i just think it's disheartening, it is such a disservice and such lies, and i can't believe the republican majority is willing to say we don't care about the constitution, we can have a president that is committing potentially crimes, felonies, impeachable offenses and the republicans aren't going to stand up. in the end i don't think the american people will stand up for that and republicans will be forced to roll some of this back and to participate in a real upholding of the constitution.
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that's what we plan to do on the judiciary committee as democratic majority and, frankly, the peshl counsel is putting a lot of stuff out there that is making it less and less likely that the president or kevin mccarthy or any of these republicans can continue to obfuscate, lie and cover up what is real fraud of the american people. >> representative, good to talk to you. thank you for your time tonight. all right. i want to bring in the top advisor to hillary clinton. philippe, good to see you. >> thank you, ali. >> what do you make of all this? at the top of this thing we played the sound of president trump saying at one point that hillary clinton is going to be under investigation for all of her term as president. at this point, when you see everything that's happening, you see the evidence onfully, the president's involvement in this, and you see the new evidence we didn't know before friday, you may have suspected that michael cohen and the campaign's
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involvement with russians goes back earlier than some people thought. where do you stand on this now? >> well, i think we've had this debate which the congresswoman just discussed after you asked her was it too early last year to start discussing i am piechment. i think we're pass the point everyone should be afraid to let the record slip across their mount. if this doesn't call for impeachment or removal, i'm not sure what the founding fathers had in mind. everyone is a little gun shy because everyone associates in this generation impeachment with bill clinton. in that case, you had the republican party blatantly weaponizing this part of the constitution, this mechanism, for purely partisan purposes. so, i always wince a little bit. in fairness, i did it both when you and the congresswoman do it, when you say this is now -- impeachment is a political decision. i understand it's a polysci
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term. it's a partisan issue. you have donald trump, he committed crimes to gain the office. he has committed crimes in office. and he continues to behave in a way that is an open wound to the united states. this is not a past crime. this is not just tweets every day -- >> but the distinction, philippe. should this go to the attorney general's office and the court system or should it go through congress? >> it's not either/or. part of the problem democrats have faced and americans have faced is donald trump is basically just stampeded over every institution in america that is mint to keep an oversight capacity on the presidency, starting with -- you just showed a clip of kevin mccarthy. mccarthy and his colleagues have been rubber stamps.
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that's about to change dramatically where people, the congresswoman and those taking over the judiciary committee, oversight, that's the first step. it's not going to be play time any more. but there is a reason why this mechanism was put into the constitution. it was to fight this very scenario. and there is also a reason why it's ill defined. people debate, as katyal said, what high crimes and misdemeanors means. it doesn't mean -- it isn't meant to believed if the president of the united states is caught jay walking he should be impeached. if he moved to a villa in spain six months out of the year, that's impeachable because it's a disgrace and open wound to the presidency. if it wasn't built here, i don't know what. we're way past the point of where there's smock there's fire. where there's fire, there's fire. >> let me ask you about william barr, the potential incoming
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attorney general. he seems to be -- he said, in fact, that he sees more basis for investigating the uranium deal, meaning uranium one, than any supposed collusion between mr. trump and russia. to the extent it is not pursuing these matters, the department -- meaning the department of justice -- is abdicating its responsibility? how does that sit with you? he seems to be echoing the message of donald trump. it's basically a lock her up conversation. >> i would say a cup you will things to attorney designate barr. one is have at it. if you want to vehicle uranium one or e-mail or what i had for lunch, what secretary clinton war a year ago, fine, that's your call. i don't see how it's an either/or proposition. if you want to investigate hillary clinton for her e-mails, let's throw jared and ivanka in.
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he keeps making the same mistake over and over again, putting people into jobs he thinks are going to be his shill. i'm not defending barr. barr has said things in television and in print about the mueller probe and how it's going too far. when this guy takes the oath of office with his hand up in the air and sits in the room with career prosecutors, i think six months from now, bill barr is going to have a nickname and trump is going to be pretty pissed with him. i would have kept whitaker. the guy is just to quadruple down on guilty. he just put jared as the attorney general. what's the difference? >> philippe, thank you for joining me tonight. >> thank you, ali. >> coming up, an accused russian agent pleads guilty and agrees to cooperate with federal prosecutors. the brings into look the depth and i'll break it down after this. (chime)
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if you were elected president, what would be your foreign politics, especially in relationships with my country? and do you want to continue the politics of sanctions that damage the economy or do you have any other ideas? a i belie >> i believe i would get along very nicely with putin, okay? where we have the strength. i don't think you need the sanctions. i think we would get along very, very well. i really believe that. >> 2015 the president is saying you won't need the sanctions, we'd get along really well. three years later we know that the person who teed up then candidate trump for his first public comments about russian sanctions is the woman named
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maria butina. butina is currently in federal custody. she is accused of acting as a russian agent to infiltrate including the nra. out tonight, multiple reports are butina has agreed to plead guilty. russians interacted with at least 14 trump associates during the campaign and transition period. now, that list includes people who pleaded guilty or been convicted of crimes as part of the resulting investigation, including paul manafort, michael cohen, michael flynn. it also includes donald trump, jr., ivanka trump, and her husband jared kushner. here to talk about it all, malcolm nantz, a veteran of naval intelligence special ops and homeland security with 35 years working in counterterrorism and intelligence. he's also the author of "the plot to hack america, how putin cyber spies and wikileaks planned to steal the election in 2016." clint watts, member of the joint terrorism task force. he's also the author of "messing with the enemy, surviving in a
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social media world of hackers, terrorists, russians and fake news." welcome to both of you guys. remember when jared kushner had to keep filling out the form to work at the white house because he kept on forgetting about more than 100 people he had met, including pretty much all the russians he'd ever met. this is what this comes down to. we all know russians. we don't all lie about having met them. >> right. there's no reason to obfuscate this. it just shows that not only was it careless, they didn't take it very serious. and if they didn't take that form skiier ious, then they didn't take it very serious, either when a russian intelligence operation is being run across the entire campaign. you showed 14 people there. this is the tentacles of an intelligence and influence operation that went on for two years. they made a very decisive decision. putin decided he was going after the election. we see questions floated in the summer of '15. we start seeing influence in the summer of '15. russian state bots or
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propaganda, is donald trump the man to mend fences in the summer 2015? this is a deliberate effort. every part of the trump campaign, everyone on the team, every angle and every facet was touched in some way. >> malcolm, what do you make of maria butina, 2015, if somebody had seen that video, they would have thought it's some young russian reporter some journalist of some sort, asking this candidate a question. turns out that she was working hard to infiltrate american organizations. >> yeah, well, when she asked that question, there were a lot of, you know, eyes raised. when you started to scrub her background and figure out where she came from. the organization she was working for, right to bear arms, was a russian organization supposedly a small equivalent with two people staffing it. that was the equivalent of the n.r.a. there there is no right to bear arms in russia. you are not allowed to have any of the weapons you can have in the united states. you can have a shotgun and deer rifle and they are strictly
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regulated. when you go backwards and see them creating these networks of social and personal relationships, all you can come up with is that it's got to be an intelligence operation. i wasn't sure whether butina -- and i wrote about her extensively in one of my books -- whether she was actually a clandestine service officer with the s.v.r., the agency under the s.f.b. or whether she was an intelligence contractor sent out to co-opt all of these middle age men with a woman with a gun, which is very seductive here in the united states. right now her being held by the united states likely indicates she is a russian spy. >> you both have written about russian involvement in the election. i've talked for a few blocks now whether it's impeachment or indictment the fact michael cohen says in the southern district of new york seems to agree the president directed him to commit a felony in paying off
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these two women for the election. in your opinion, does this conversation cloud something that you believe -- and you, i believe, were the first to flag this -- is a much bigger issue and that's russian interference in the elections? >> there's two parts to this that have really played out, which is not only were the russians trying to help trump win. trump was doing other things to try to make sure he could win. imagine after the access hollywood tape we have two revelations in a row about a former adult film star and a play boy play mate that are in extra marital affairs with now president trump. the election, there is no president trump. there's a good chance he doesn't win. take the russia situation out of it, no way this happens. so it changes how the entire outcome is. when we've been talking about can the president be indicted, that was based on old precedent, which is richard nixon did something while he was in office. okay, can he be indicted or not, should he be impeached? what if donald trump did
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something so he could be elected which was a felony or crime, why would we not indict that person? we're essentially incentivizing, hey, you can do anything you want. as long as you win, you're untouchable. you're incentivizing bad behavior. we need to get a law on the books, we need to get a ruling. i hope in this process we push subpoenas and indictments to the supreme court. >> by the way, the founding fathers, malcolm, did foresee this and they did address the idea that you shouldn't be able to buy your way into office or do things that influence votes other than those things that are legally agreed upon. >> right. bribery is right up there at the top, which is why we also have the emoluments clause. they foresaw that someone was going to do something dirty, and that's why they have the impeachment clause. all an impeachment does is remove the powers of the presidency from the person who is in the seat. it doesn't say that you're immune. i've actually heard people on television using the word immunity for trump because he's
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president. he does not have immunity. he is a man. he is a citizen of the united states. but let's step back and look at the way -- a little further than what clint had said about the impact on this election. they didn't just steal an election. this was the co-option of the national security apparatus of the united states via foreign power, by an ex-k.g.b. director. this election was far more than just raising sanctions. this is getting a perfectly recruitable russian asset, a man with an unquenchable ego, a narcissist who could be easily manipulated in blackmail into power, and he dances on their string. that is why he needs to be removed from power. he is a national security threat and it is the pinnacle of intelligence operations. >> malcolm nantz and clint watts, thank you both for sharing your views tonight.
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coming up, the attorney general reportedly turned down a different job offer from the president. that would be the president's defense attorney. michael isikoff has all the details. he joins me after this. so lionel, what does being able to trade 24/5 mean to you? well, it means i can trade after the market closes. it's true. so all... evening long. ooh, so close. yes, but also all... night through its entirety. come on, all... the time from sunset to sunrise. right. but you can trade... from, from... from darkness to light.
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all right. donald trump is in the midst of the a scramble to find a new chief of staff, a job nobody seems to want. he's had other jobs available that nobody seems to want, being one of the president's defense attorneys. we already knew at least four law firms had turned down that
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job, today we learned about one other attorney who also declined the position. william barr, the president's nominee for attorney general. here with me now is one of the reporter who broke that story. michael isikoff, the chief correspondent for yahoo! news. wow, michael. that's something, the guy the president has named to be the attorney general of the united states was a guy he wanted to represent him as his personal attorney. this is not my need to have an attorney or yours. the president of the united states, particularly donald trump, has unique needs for legal representation. the idea that he wanted this guy to be his lawyer, the guy says no, and now he wants to nominate him to be the attorney general of the united states is highly unusual. >> it definitely it unusual. look, it was may of last year that the president fired comey, that created a huge controversy and obviously kicked off the
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concerns about obstruction of justice in the fbi. a few days later, bill barr, who had been the attorney general under president george h.w. bush, wrote an op-ed in the washington post defending the president quite vigorously for the firing of comey, saying there was legitimate grounds to do so based on his handling of matters relating to hillary clinton during the 2016 election. that immediately put him on the white house radar screen. and -- >> let me stop you there, michael. >> sure. >> this is the way it goes with this president, right? the way you get appointed subsequently to cabinet level positions is to dee finished him publicly or write an op-ed about something the president would like you to say. >> exactly. a lot of people took notice inside the white house, and very shortly thereafter in the late spring of last year, when there was a lot of turmoil within the trump legal team and they were
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searching around trying to find a really top flight lawyer to sort of head the effort, barr gets ushered into the white house to meet with the president. the president asks him if he's interested. barr demurs, says he has other obligations. he'll have to think about it. nothing comes of it at that point. but the discussions about barr coming over and taking over the legal defense team for the president didn't stop there. they actually continued until this year, right up to the point when another more eager candidate, rudy giuliani, stepped up to the plate, and the president chose him instead. at the same time that these discussions about bill barr coming over as the top defense lawyer for the president were going on, there were also people in the white house who were talking about him as a prospective attorney general. >> so neither you nor i are united states senators, but one would think this is an interesting line of questioning that would take place at bill barr's nomination, whether or not this poses some conflict.
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i mean, obviously no contract was signed. >> right. >> and -- >> barr did not accept the job. >> barr did not accept the job. >> right. >> one might legally say no conflict. it strikes as unusual the guy you wanted to be your personal lawyer you would now like to be the attorney general -- >> the guy in charge of the investigation you were asking him to defend against. >> specifically when you are a president who thinks that these types of positions should be held by people who display a strong sense of loyalty to you. >> yeah. look, i am certain there will be questions about this at the confirmation hearing and barr will be ready for them. one key issue or question will be, how much did he discuss this with, if not the president himself -- because my understanding the conversation with trump was brief -- a brief exchange, but others at the white house, others on the president's legal team. but this is going to come in the
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context of did they have discussions about the mueller investigation itself? did they have discussions about what he might do about the mueller probe if he becomes attorney general? and, look, you know, bill barr is a savvy veteran guy. he's too smart, i believe, to have gotten too far into conversations like that. and also, i should point out something else. we wrote about in the piece, which is that he's got a relationship with bob -- robert mueller. when bill barr was attorney general -- >> that's right. >> -- mueller was the assistant attorney general in charge of the criminal division. >> right. >> they worked together on a lot of major cases. >> well, this just goes into the #it's just weird category. michael, thank you very much as always for your reporting. michael isikoff of yahoo! news. up ahead, former prosecutor jill wine-banks and nick ackerman are here to talk about the depths of trump's legal troubles right after this.
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if the democrats take back power, do you believe they will try to impeach you? >> well, you know, i guess it's something like high crimes and all -- i don't know how you can impeach somebody who has done a great job. >> because the high crimes and misdemeanors thing isn't actually about doing a great job, but that would be a legal concept. president trump may want to believe that he is somehow immune to impeachment or that recent court filings totally cleared him. those are his words.
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but now he faces a set of legal problems not seen since watergate. he may or may not be indicted or impeached and his criminal offenses may include conspiracy with a foreign government to influence the election, obstruction of justice and conspiring to violate campaign finance laws. but don't take my word for it. two legal experts, two msnbc legal analysts, both part of the special prosecutor's watergate proceedings. jill wine-banks and nick ackerman. welcome to both of you. thank you for being with us. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> nick, we've had a couple of nights since all of this information came out on friday night. >> right. >> to think about it. what stands out in your mind about where we are right now vis-a-vis the president's liability, whether that's liability in the court system or through the department of justice or liability politically through congress? >> i think it's both. i think where we are right now, if you look at the special counsel's memo to -- on the sentencing, i think what you have to keep your eye on is that
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conspiracy indictment that came down against the russians on july 13th of this year where basically they were charged with conspiring to break into the democratic national committee, steal documents, and then release them, stage and release. that is where i think trump is falling into this because if you look at what is in the cohen papers, up until the mid september, cohen was lying about everything relating to russia. all of a sudden, he had a change of heart come mid september, which prompted the plea to the whole business about the trump tower and moscow. and -- but that was like, if you look at the statement to the senate committee, that's like the last thing in terms of all of the russian involvement during the course of the campaign. most notably, what is in there is this meeting that cohen had in prague with the russians after manafort left as campaign
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manager. the whole point of that, according to christopher steele, the m-six-inch tell jensen agent who was in charge of russia for the british, they said cohen was there to conceal what the russians had done for trump -- >> clean up? >> clean up. if you look at this plea, and if you look at the papers, what they talk about is cohen testifying about other matters he lied about to the senate, which would be the prague trip. i mean, if you look at prior to that time, cohen's lawyer, lanny davis, lied on tv -- he didn't lie. he was told by his client that he hadn't been at prague. >> right. >> cohen told george stephanopoulous at abc he hadn't been to prague. >> right. >> all of this changed after mid september. that's why i think the president is in major trouble here. >> jill -- and by the way, i have to tell you the pen is amazing tonight. even i can make sense of that,
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the puzzle pieces. during watergate, the nixon articles of impeachment centered around obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of congress, which was about willfully disobeying subpoenas. i've now spoken to two members of congress in as many nights, both of whom have said while they didn't run on and didn't wish to be involved in discussions of impeachment, it becomes unavoidable to have that -- having that discussion becomes unavoidable given the papers that came out on friday night. >> it absolutely does. and there is a difference between indictment and impeachment. the team that i was on, which was the main obstruction of justice case, had to decide about impeachment as a method versus indictment. the members of the team, many of us, wanted to indict. le leon jaworsky said that's not the right thing to do politically. you should do it for
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impeachment. but i will point out there was a viable impeachment option then. the house was already investigating, and it was a possibility. in this environment, the house now, after january, may conduct an investigation and could go forward with impeachment, but there will never be removal from office. and in order to protect democracy and to prevent further corruption of our system of justice, our rule of law, you may need to taken diemt indicta way to punish -- >> removal from office. >> exactly. that may be the only way to do it in this situation. >> leon jaworsky was a special prosecutor at the time. he sent congress a so-called road map of how they would do it. >> he did, yes. and that also included, by the way, a lot of evidence of the false statements made to the public, which we believed and congress believed was an impeachable offense. in this case, the washington
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post has now created a new level of pinocchio. there used to be just four pinocchios. now there is a bottomless pinocchio, which is when you keep repeating the same lie over and over again. so clearly donald trump would be guilty of that. >> you know, if somebody -- if a martian had just popped into earth for the first time tonight, jill, she'd think you made that up. but you didn't. there's actually now a bottomless pinocchio to describe the way donald trump lies. thanks to both of you, jill wine-banks and nick ackerman, both watergate veterans. coming up, the president is reportedly, quote, super pissed he has no one to run the white house after being jilted by the staffer he wanted to be the chief of staff. is there a larger problem? that discussion ahead. (chime)
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well, we know that president trump likes to hire people who look the part. >> hopefully, everything goes very well with judge kavanaugh. he's central casting.
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>> he was central casting. >> no, but they're central casting. >> these are central casting. >> oh, central casting. >> and he is central casting, do we agree? central casting. >> rex tillerson was someone trump described as central casting. that is until last week when he called him lazy and dumb as a rock. we know people who aren't central casting in his mind. john bolton's mustache was reportedly a factor in trump's decision not to maim him secretary of state. janet yellen was a problem at the federal reserve because she wasn't tall enough. so as he looked for a new chief of staff, the president settled on 36-year-old chief of staff to vice president mike pence for a role, essentially casting himself for the part. nick ayers was the only person mr. trump had focused on since he made up his mind to part ways with mr. kelly. he somewhat resembles trump in his younger days, a fact that trump often looks for as a positive signal. but alas, ayers is turning the president down and announced on twitter that he will be
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departing at the end of the year but will still work with th the #maga team to advance the cause. reportedly president trump is having a tough time finding someone else to do that job, in large part because he has become so politically toxic. i'll have more on that ahead. (chime) - [narrator] meet shark's newest robot vacuum. it powerfully cleans from floors to carpets, even pet hair, with ease, and now for cleaning surfaces above the floor, it comes with a built in shark handheld. one dock, two sharks. the shark ion robot cleaning system.
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new john deere equipment for all and to all a good night. see your john deere dealer today to discover more great deals and special financing offers. new year, new deere. okay. today's been like a big meal. so now we need to sort of sit back and digest for a minute. i'm joined now by sam seder, host of the majority report podcast and host of ring of fire radio show, and former assistant u.s. attorney and vice president of the social justice at the new school. thanks to both of you for being here. maya, let's just pick up where we left off. the white house is without a chief of staff. arguably, the white house has been without a chief of staff for a long time. we all thought for a moment that john kelly was going to be the adult in the room, and it turned out he was off as toxic as president trump himself. it's all getting lost in the shuffle, but i think a lot of people think john kelly is a bad man himself.
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what happens next? perfect. >> i mean, these are the worst jobs on the planet at the moment. >> yeah. >> i can't imagine. >> stephanie ruhle always said it's not like cleaning the toilets new year's eve at times square. >> no, i think it is actually, after friday in particularly, you weren't sure it wasn't like cleaning the toilets at times square after new year's eve? it is now. you already have a president who is unprogrammable, right? the job of a chief of staff is really to both manage access to the president, but also to really manage what he should be paying attention to, make sure he sees what he's supposed to see, knows where to -- you know, it really is a critically important position to helping the president navigate not just his schedule as a schedule, but his priorities. and this president doesn't listen to anybody. but now he is literally in the center of a storm that is not going away, and he is not
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behaving well in the face of it, and we already know that up with of the reasons john kelly had less and less influence over him was because john kelly was actually holding the line on some of the completely shall we say inappropriate or shall we just go ahead and say unlawful behavior that the president wanted to engage in, including interfering with the mueller investigation. >> yeah. i mean, i think a total disarray ahead. you know, i think the -- i think ayer's is leaving too, frankly. i think mike pence has had a lot more influence in that white house than perhaps we generally understand, and with ayers going, it's not just there's not going to be a chief of staff in the white house. >> right. >> there is also not going to be one in terms of the vice presidency. >> the two most powerful jobs in washington both going to be without. >> particularly in terms of trump's relationships with the hill, which i think a lot of that went through pence.
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so i think there is going to be disarray. it's not like donald trump has had a legislative agenda necessarily anyways, though. i mean -- >> caging children. >> exactly. but not legislative. >> true. >> but i wonder, there is a little bit of a concern that there is no baby-sitter there. but, you know, not to change the subject too much, but we were talking a little bit about impeachment and where this place is with the democrats. it seems to me that the republicans in the house and the republicans in the senate have not been able -- have not been made sufficiently for years now to take responsibility for what they especially able in the white house. they are really the only ones in the country. we can talk to all the prosecutors we want, but based upon what the doj says, they are the only ones in the country who can stop this, or who have shown any reluctance to do so. the pressure needs to move to them now, because they are now the baby-sitters. >> so we've had this -- we've
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been going around this for a while tonight, maya. what should democrats in the house in particular be doing when they get back there? they didn't -- most of them didn't run on the idea of impeachment. >> i think they ran rightly on the issues that are bread and butter issues for most americans. so let me say that, because people really do need jobs. people need health care. people need their health care protected. at the same time, though, it is their constitutional responsibility. james madison crafted that, the impeachment clause of the constitution because he said you can't wait every four years. elections themselves are not enough to guard the american people against abuse of power. so it is the responsibility, and frankly, not just of democrats. it's the responsibility of every single legislator in washington to be actively looking for accountability. because remember, abuse of power is something we already have a public record on. >> right.
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>> but we need them to do a better job at making sure we understand what's going on. >> thank you for your analysis tonight, both of you. sam seder and maya wiley. thanks for being here. and that is "all in" this evening. "the rachel maddow show" begins right now. good evening, rachel. >> good evening, ali. thank you. much appreciated. and thanks for joining us this hour. happy to have you with us. so things are happening kind of fast right now. tonight, as you may have heard, we have a new plea deal, what appears to be a new guilty plea and what is reported to be a new cooperation agreement to go along with that guilty plea. now in this case, the plea deal itself is not totally unexpected. we had seen this coming for maybe the last couple of days, but the reported cooperation deal tonight, that is a for real surprise. i don't know exactly what you're supposed to expect from somebody whose charged with being a secret foreign agent, operating inside this country on behalf of russia, but i know that you don't expect them to a

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